The Terrigal and Coastal Lagoons Audit is a comprehensive water quality improvement program to address pollution risks for recreational swim safety and ecological health.
A team of scientists from Council, the NSW Government and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) collaborated with technical experts and operational staff from Council to assess the possible sources of pollution in each catchment and determine the impacts on short and longer-term recreational water quality, as well as prioritise public and private sewer network upgrades.
In response, major investigations of public and private infrastructure have, and continue to be undertaken, to identify hotspot areas of contamination.
Safe to swim
The audit identified that the water quality of Terrigal Beach, the Haven and the lagoons is generally suitable for swimming in dry weather conditions, however, after rain, levels of microbial indicators of faecal contamination in swimming waters increase.
As a result of many years of water quality data collected by Council, in conjunction with looking at recent rain data, Beachwatch can provide daily pollution forecasts. For more information and to subscribe to daily feeds, find your beach under Central Coast beaches on the Beachwatch website.
The remediation program has identified a range of potential sources, including the aging sewer network and illegal private connections as significant contributors.
Council has been cleaning and relining pipes, resealing and raising maintenance holes, digging and replacing pipes, undertaking sewer pump station upgrades and arranging for illegal connections to be rectified.
Considerable progress has been made throughout the investigation and remediation program, with works from 19 January 2019 – 1 September 2021, completing 93.3 kilometres of sewer pipe inspections, of which 28.4 93.3 kilometres of sewer pipes were identified as needing upgrades, 21.9 93.3 kilometres have been relined to date. Overall, 2,747 maintenance holes and 1,036 private properties have been inspected in which 23 illegal connections were identified and more are expected as the project continues.
How improving sewer network operations improves water quality
Reducing sewer overflows in wet weather, reducing sewer exfiltration into groundwater and waterways, reducing direct sewer connections to the environment and overall reduce cumulative impacts from the above sources.
What community members can help improve water quality
Inside the home – How you help ‘Save Our Sewers’
- By being water and sewer aware, and actively participating to ‘Save Our Sewers’, we will continue to make the Central Coast even better.
- Only ever flush the three Ps down your porcelain throne – Poo, Pee and Paper – everything else needs to go into the appropriate bin.
- Flushing things down drains or toilets can cause significant damage. Household waste such as food scraps, fats and oils, cigarette butts, nappies, dental floss, sanitary items, cotton buds, stickers on fruit, and wipes – even if they are labelled ‘flushable’ all belong in the bin, not the sewer.
- Make sure you ‘Dial before you Dig’ – this is a free national referral service which can be accessed online to locate underground pipes and prevent damage and disruption to our vast infrastructure networks.
Outside the home – How you can help reduce sewer overflows and breaks
- Have your sewer system checked and make sure it connects to the sewer network and not the stormwater network
- Have your stormwater assets (pipes that convey rainwater from the house, shed, garage or rainwater tank overflow) checked and make sure they connect to the stormwater network. Connecting your stormwater to the sewer network overloads the sewer’s capacity and can cause overflows in rainy weather.